Glossary of Plumbing and Septic Terms – Links are to Wikipedia – for Merriam Webster Links please go to

Pipe – A pipe is any hollow tube, generally long that is used to transfer, move, water, waste, gases, any fluids, gases, or solids. For example, Sugar is moved through a pipe, as is sewage, and water, both potable and non-potable. There are many types of pipes that plumbers use. To pipe is the action of installing the pipes for use. Pipes used to be made of wood. A lit of current piping material is listed below.

Pipe – ABS – I do not know what the ABS stands for. It is a black plastic pipe. Generally used indoors but can be found buried outdoors. Should not be combined with PVC pipe.

Pipe – Asbestos – Mixed with concrete to make the pipe. Gets crumbly over time when buried. I’ve only seen it used underground.

Pipe – Cast Iron – This pipe has been around since the 17th century. Used indoors and outdoors. Used to have poured lead joints, now we use rubber gaskets. Good stuff but rots out on the top from sewer gas and is rigid so it cracks underground.

Pipe – Cement – Usually larger culvert pipes but we do find smaller sizes. Cement was used to line Ductile Iron pipes, also used on its own, and used when mixed with asbestos.

Pipe – Copper – What we all know and love. Beautiful copper. Generally not buried as a sewer line. The most commonly used material for a pipe.

Pipe – PVC -Polyvinyl Chloride –  the third most commonly produced plastic. This is the white pipe you see in your home.

Pipe – HDPE – High-Density Polyethylene. The most commonly produced plastic. We are able to heat weld together the seams/joints so we install one pipe no matter how long it is. No joints, seams, or gaskets. This is the pipe used for Pipe Bursting Installations.


1Someone who works in (with) lead.

2Someone who works with pipes, pipe material, who installs, services piping for water and other substances.

Plumbers have been around for a long time. If you want to stop the spread of disease and you need sanitary plumbing, both clean water and proper disposal of the human waste.

What most people do not know is that is is difficult to become a Master Licensed Plumber. There is a 10-year apprenticeship requirement before you can sit for your exams. Some states have statewide licenses. New York State does not have a state license so in some municipalities you need a license and in some, anyone can do any of the work. I have gone into many brand new buildings and repaired and replaced brand new plumbing that will not work because it was installed incorrectly, but only in areas that do not require a license.